Kwale residents up in arms over mining royalties

kwaleAli Kassim, a resident of Bwiti leads other community members in protesting formation of Community Development Agreement committee terming it irrelevant and unconstitutional.

Kwale communities neighbouring the mining belts have protested the formation of a Community Development Agreement committee that is set to represent locals in the 10 percent share of mining royalties from Base Titanium.

The group has requested the Ministry of Mining to trash the committee which they term unconstitutional and biased.

Led by Swalehe Mwabakari who resides from Bwiti after being relocated from Nguluku/Maumba village, they have asked CS John Munyes to cancel the list that was presented to the commissioner’s office on Monday as most of the representatives are politicians.

The committee was supposed to have 23 members but only seven slots have been set aside for the local communities, the remaining positions are taken over by politicians from both county and national government.

Locals have argued that, the national government has a representation of 70 percent of the royalty, 20 percent for the county government expecting the remaining 10 percent to have full representation from community members.

“Politicians already have their roles which is to make sure they get the 90 percent share of royalty, we should be left to elect and decide those to represent us to propagate our agendas in terms of development. And they should be amongst us,” said Mwabakari.

He added that, unconstitutional methods were used in choosing representatives from the community.

“The law is clear on how we should choose our representatives. We are supposed to elect them but what surprises us is that some were called to name people with good leadership skills. We are the ones who know the people who can represent us effectively,” he added.

Several politicians are in the committee that entails discussing on how the 10 percent royalty from the Kwale mines will be spent on development to the community.

The estimated amount is Sh400 million.

In a committee of 23 people, the governor has his representative, three MPs, seven MCAs, five stakeholders and seven representatives from the community.

“In the whole group, we only have seven votes. We are really undermined as the leaders already have their percentage of the royalty but have grabbed almost all the slots,” said

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